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How does California fit into the opioid crisis?

29 October 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump plans to declare a nationwide public health emergency Thursday to address an escalating opioid crisis that killed more than 175 people each day a year ago. The declaration will also broaden the use of telemedicine and remove some regulations.

"This was an idea that I had, where if we can teach young people not to take drugs", Mr. Trump said, "it's really, really easy not to take them".

In July, members of a White House commission on the drug crisis had recommended that Trump declare a national emergency.

The president debated invoking a disaster emergency under the Stafford Act, which would have made FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund available for governors who declared the opioid crisis a disaster situation.

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"We fully recognize the challenge facing Ohio, and we welcome any additional resources provided by the federal government to better arm those on the frontlines combating addiction in our communities", said Jon Keeling, a spokesman for Ohio Gov John Kasich.

"All the treatments up till now have all been a 30-day or a 90-day rehab and then you're cured, bye, and that's just not effective", Nerenberg said.

The President will direct all executive agencies to use every appropriate emergency authority to fight the opioid crisis, which he described as a "worldwide problem". And the public health emergency declaration is much more than a gesture.

The disappointment about Trump's announcement is more bitter in Ross County given that more than 60 percent of the county voted for the Republican at last year's presidential election against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

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"We must instill a heightened sense of urgency in the White House", Democratic US Representative Elijah Cummings wrote in an op-ed on Wednesday ahead of the announcement.

In August, Trump promised he would declare the epidemic a "national emergency". "I'm pushing the Senate to act as quickly as possible on four bipartisan bills, including the STOP Act to help stop risky synthetic drugs from being shipped into our country; the Prescription Drug Monitoring Act, which will help stop overprescribing; the Medicaid CARE Act to lift the cap on Medicaid funding for mental health and substance abuse facilities and the CRIB Act to help newborns born dependent on drugs recover". These include remote prescribing of medicine commonly used for substance abuse or mental health treatment.

"For too long we've allowed drugs to ravage Americans cities and towns", he said.

He added, "I have spoken to the president in depth about this epidemic and the devastating impact it is having on our communities in OH and around the country, and I know he is committed to addressing it in a comprehensive way".

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The money is needed to expand treatment for people with substance abuse disorders and to provide more of the antidote naloxone to first responders and the public, Wen said. These are actions we can take right now. This speaks to something that is often lost when discussing the opioid epidemic: There are still lots of patients who need pain medication, and there are some concerns that because of new prescribing limits and the fear of feeding addiction, they are not able to get access to them. "And this announcement does little to support any of them".

How does California fit into the opioid crisis?